Why President Obama Should Nominate the Next Supreme Court Justice (and Why I’m not voting for Donald Trump)

1200324_1280x720Over the next week, South Carolina will become the third state to cast its vote on the way to nominating the next candidates for President of the United States.

Personally, I’m on the AnyonebutTrump bandwagon so if that disqualifies me in your mind, feel free to stop reading now.

If choosing a President isn’t enough, we are also fighting for the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice. If there was ever a time to be interested in politics this is it. In what I think is one of the greatest strokes of beauty in our system of government, multiple bodies hold tremendous power over the decisions made for the nation and yet, none of them is independent from the other.

The death of Justice Scalia has only ramped up the fervor and spit-fire that has already accompanied this election cycle. Blinded by passion, many people have abandoned their principles for the convenient (and self-serving) position.

It is the role of the President to appoint Supreme Court Justices and the role of Congress to approve or block the nomination. Period. There is no clause that states except in an election year. Principles, laws, and rules exist to maintain order, longevity of government, and as close to fairness as we will get in this world. You don’t get to pick and choose when you want the system to work for you. Principles are meant to guide us in the difficult times, not merely support our argument when it’s convenient. If you espouse the virtues of democracy (ahem, republic) then you must accept them when you disagree – THAT is the beauty and power of the system; individuals with conflicting ideas coexisting and even thriving among tension while working for the betterment of all.

It is not always convenient to have a conversation with someone you disagree with. Sometimes, our beliefs lead us down a path we would rather not go. Justice Scalia was famous for and skilled at following and argument to its logical end.

The decisions made by the next President, like many before, will have grand implications for the future of our country. This is one of the main reasons (among many) I wholeheartedly cannot support Donald Trump for President. His pandering to voters is a thin mask concealing his love of self (and only himself). A man who does not ask for forgiveness is a man who values himself above all others. Power and selfishness together have destroyed many more people, families, and nations than any flawed government program.

As you prepare to vote I challenge you to think critically about your own beliefs – what are the far-reaching conclusions that result when you follow out your line of thinking? What about the views of your candidate? You may not always like where they lead (I know I don’t), but at least you will be honest about what you (and they) do or do not believe.

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To the SC Assembly, Take Down that Flag.

confederate_flag

Today, our state leaders face a momentous decision. It’s been a long time coming. Today is the day South Carolina law makers will vote to (hopefully) remove the Confederate Flag from State House grounds. This cannot come soon enough.

As a native of South Carolina and Columbia, I have driven past the State House many times and seen the flag flying both above on the dome and below on the ground. It never ceases to disgust and anger me. There is no doubt in my mind the flag represents hatred, promotes racism, and is a painful reminder of a shameful past.

Yes, some claim it is a relic of history, a story of heritage, but is that the heritage we want to celebrate? Admittedly, many Christians, blinded by their own cultural narrative, twisted the Bible to suit their desires – and this was done to their own detriment.

If we claim Christ, we must let his words speak for us. Our ancestral narrative does not trump our narrative in Christ. When one member of the body suffers, we all suffer – regardless of our physical bloodlines.

We must continue to move beyond symbols and move to action. We must speak up when we hear racism, even seemingly benign, in conversation. We must advocate against the alarmingly high incarceration rates among black men. We must not mistake our situational advantages resulting from our zip code of birth for merit, reward, or favor. We must stand against unjust systems even when we are unknowingly the beneficiary of the systems.

The same fervor that drives us to fight for the rights of unborn children should drive us to stand alongside and fight for our African-American brothers and sisters. Symbols are powerful – just ask any Christian with a cross hanging around his/her neck.

If we want to remember our heritage, let’s remember our heritage in Christ; the shame, scorn, and humiliation that comes from hanging on a thief’s cross. Let’s claim the murderers, adulterers, poor, and outcast as our own. The unwanted, foolish, and illiterate are our friends. The orphans and widows are our family.

We don’t celebrate that which hurts our own. It’s time to remove a flag that hurts many and helps none.